The penis is a symbol of fertility in many cultures. Many people in Greece have heard of, or even visited the unique ‘phallic’ custom called ‘Bourani’ in the region of Tyrnavos near the city of Larissa in central Greece. It involves people drinking and eating till they faint, and using large plastic penises and profane songs of language throughout the duration of the Dionysian-style celebrations. Although not as old as the Greek custom, which is rooted in ancient Greece and honours the God of wine and debauchery Dionysus, Japan also has its version of penis celebrations going on every year since the 1970’s in the city of Kawasaki. The story is rooted in a 17th Century myth according to which a sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young woman who wedded two men. On both wedding nights, the demon castrated the men by biting their pensises off. The young woman sought help, which came from a blacksmith who made an iron phallus. The demon bit down on the phallus and broke his teeth, and was thus vanquished. The phallus was subsequently enshrined. The phallic festival has grown recently and is used to raise money for Aids research. The parade takes place every first Sunday of April.
Japan’s penis parade
Greece’s phallic celebrations